In this piece – which I GREATLY enjoyed writing(!) – I offer a value proposition based summary of my Excel Heaven™ brand – including history and long term purpose. I;ve come a long way since 2002!!
- Doing Business As “Self-Development Academy (SDAc)’s Excel Heaven™, I began operations in January 2002, offering Workbook Optimization, and Visual Basic for Applications driven Automation, in addition to Small Group of Personal “Job Based” Spreadsheet Coaching.
- Motivation: A passion for using spreadsheets to resolve data handling and report generation problems experienced by serious business users. Recorded achievements in paid establishment (see tayosolagbade.com/uploads/tayosolagbade.pdf) provided a natural platform to test market relevance of this concept.
- Industry: IT (Software Development
- Skills: Mostly self-taught. As trainee brewer in Guinness Lagos brewery (1994-5), I spent my spare time informally understudying a British expatriate senior manager with Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet programming skills. I practiced in my spare time. In 2001, following Guinness’ migration from the Lotus Smart Suite platform to MS Office, I studied a Microsoft Step-By-Step manual authored by Reed Jacobson, to acquire Excel-VB coding skills. In 2007, I acquired a manual from Amazon.com titled “Professional Excel Programming”. Using a fraction of what I learnt from studying it, I developed a new breed of superior performing applications at lower cost.
- Description of Target Market: There is a severe LACK of customizable, pocket-friendly solutions/services that address the peculiar data recording, analysis and report generation needs of many Nigerian/African individuals, groups, organizations and businesses. My success in filling this gap, even at the level of individuals within and outside Africa, proves that a ready market awaits any provider willing/able to MEET this need cost-effectively. I have a rapidly growing client base comprising individuals, and organizations (some with annual turnovers exceeding N100 million). Since 2011/2012, when I began working remotely, using the web to deliver my solutions to clients, there’s been a significant increase in the awareness about my custom Excel-VB solutions. Increased social media follows/connections, newsletter subscriptions and web contact form enquiries, have resulted in sales across wider markets.
- My Vision/Purpose: To be seen as a source of practical real-world-relevant solutions to the daily data handling challenges of the average business focused person. A key focus is to demystify computer-based automation for the average client who desires to make more sense of his/her data without spending a fortune.
- Market Assessment: Excel-VB Solutions Development remains relatively unexplored/uncharted territory in the Nigerian/African markets. Efforts at establishing client/partnerships relationships in 2005, during an exploratory visit to Ghana for instance, led me to only ONE company – Excel Consultancy – located at the Trade Fair centre on the outskirts of Accra, who do similar work to ours – though at a lower level of sophistication, especially in the area of providing automated data entry interfaces such as my trademark “modeless floating forms”.
In the early years, from 2004 up until 2011, client patronage and interest was within Nigeria – mainly Lagos. During that period, I was formally approached, for instance, by large corporate multinationals such as Shell Exploration and Production, Africa and PZ Cussons.
Since 2012 however, especially following my switch to working 100% online, various markets have opened up, so that today, I have paid clients in many states across Nigeria, and outside Nigeria/Africa e.g. Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Canada, Guinea/UK, Philippines/UAE etc.
Target Audience Analysis: Individuals and organizations with peculiar data handling and report generation needs that are not cost-effectively addressed by available off-the-shelf commercial software applications. They will typically have tried doing it on their own, or using their own resource persons, without success. Or they lack the time or training. This is what would make them engage me to do it for them – and/or teach them to do it themselves.
- Main Consumer Benefit: Timely, stress/error free and reliable data handling/report generation in line with the client’s expressed preferences. Readily available option to include additional modification/customization at pocket-friendly costs to meet new needs that arise.
- Core Business Strategy/Business Model: I market affordable Preprogrammed and Custom Spreadsheet software, using my custom Web Marketing System to win high profile – and repeat – patronage from a growing customer base. I offer clients significant additional value for the same price by providing my other complementary services/products at discounted rates.
- Current and Possible Future Competition and Competitive Advantages: The competitors to beat are the foreign and local software solutions providers. The slant to my offering however is what gives me an edge that is hard to beat: I leverage my multipreneurial aptitude to win buyers by demonstrating that I understand their needs better.
I will also use it to deliver solutions that truly address their needs satisfactorily. My clients attest to this via completed forms, and video/audio testimonials.
- Social Benefit: My products already fill a felt-need for many individuals and businesses. Not only do they see my solutions as continually relevant to monitoring their data and taking intelligent decisions, but a growing number express interest in learning to do what I do, or having their personnel coached to do it. In 2004, a multinational telecom operator engaged me to provide one-on-one coaching for their National Distribution Manager.
Last year (May 2016) I formally launched my Excel Heaven Visual Basic Automation club during the club’s maiden FREE workshop. It now has 7 members (including a University Professor, a Chartered Accountant, and a Quantity Surveyor). I aim to offer more paid learning/coaching clinics to equip unemployed persons/school leavers/retired professionals. Regarding school age kids, the club has a Kiddies Arm designed to introduce them to coding early in life, via school based projects and competitions.
- Envisioned Future: The growing market acceptance of my brand of customizable software solutions development convinces me I can successfully exploit strategic partnerships and collaborations to boost my capacity to deliver. Ultimately, I aim to consolidate my growing reputation derived by carving a niche – and name – for myself as a tested and trusted provider of high profile yet pocket friendly custom software development solutions and education.
- What I Am Looking For: I believe the main growth limiting factor for my Excel Heaven brand has been the need to command ready credibility in the minds of prospects, while competing with more conventional solutions providers. This is why I seek Strategic Partnerships in which I collaborate with individuals and organizations fitting my target audience profile, to develop more market friendly solutions.
- Why Excel Heaven is Worth Partnering With: (a) I have come this far because I have consistently worked in line with a philosophy expressed by Dan Kennedy (in his book titled “How to Succeed in Business by Breaking All The Rules”) as follows: “…I have long taught: If you cannot make money without money, you won’t make money with money either…” Before I began working remotely online, most of my clients were hard-won via aggressive door-to-door marketing. This happened because I did not have the funds to do otherwise. Today, I look back realizing that has been a blessing in disguise. My low to zero cost web marketing techniques have proved highly effective in attracting profitable clients. (b) Dan Kennedy then offers the following advice to persons looking for a business to invest in: “…And if you are going to back somebody, pick an entrepreneur who has proven he can survive without adequate capital”. Many true stories/anecdotes I share on my website and in my talks reveal that I repeatedly survived lack of adequate capital to establish my brand. Click here to contact me.
BUILT-IN EXCEL SOLUTIONS DEVELOPMENT
We offer Workbook Auditing/Optimization and VBA Automation; Custom Spreadsheet Software Development; Sales; Job-Based Spreadsheet Coaching; and Consulting/Advisory Services on effective application of spreadsheets for business use. Email tayo at tksola dot com.
See video demos of my apps with modeless data entry forms at
Visit Tayo’s Excel Heaven Spreadsheet Solutions Facebook page (which has a growing base of fans from across the world) at: www.tayosolagbade.com/fbk